- Delta Junction, Fairbanks, AK
- Site Type:
- Infrastructure and Utilities, Roads, Bridges, and Tunnels
- New Deal Agencies:
- Federal Works Agency (FWA), Federal & Military Operations, Public Works Funding, Army Corps of Engineers
- Quality of Information:
- Very Good
- Site Survival:
The 1,300+ mile Alaska Highway was constructed in 1942 and opened in 1943. It was built to provide an alternate supply line to Alaska during World War II, an idea the President Roosevelt had proposed to the Canadian government in 1936. It runs through Canadian Territory but the cost was borne by the United States.
The Alaska Highway was a joint effort of the U.S. Army (Corps of Engineers) and the Public Roads Administration (PRA)—a sub-agency of the New Deal’s Federal Works Agency that replaced the earlier Bureau of Public Roads. The construction was carried out by a host of PRA-contracted firms.
Three new regiments of black soldiers assisted in the construction efforts, which took place in “rough terrain that included sub-arctic tundra, rugged mountains, and virgin forests”; and the highway “stands today as one of the boldest homeland security initiatives ever undertaken” (Federal Highway Administration
Workers were housed in buildings that were originally used in more than 40 civilian conservation corps camps. The structures were dismantled, and transported to the job along with equipment for kitchens. (The Gustine Standard, 1942)
Today, the Aylaska Highway is somewhat altered from its original route and is used for routine public travel. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
"Alaska Highway, 1942, 1943," Federal Highway Administration, accessed May 25, 2020.
"The Saga of the Alcan Highway," The Gustine Standard (Gustine, California), December 10, 1942, p. 3.
Site originally submitted by Brent McKee on May 28, 2020.